Make your own motives


Varshini Ramanathan

A senior’s diploma, featuring a quote from the musical Hamilton: “There’s a million things I haven’t done […] but just you wait”.

John Vassiliou, Editor

I cringe whenever faced with these three letters: GPA. I’ve pondered for the longest time for what it was about the term that made me uncomfortable, afraid even, and I came to the evident realization that I knew my father came to at my age: this is my first time where my own actions affect my life.

GPA is our first real step into deciding our own futures. Are you going to be a whiz kid who can get into any college you wish? Or are you going to let yourself collapse under the pressure of school, and be lucky to be accepted into one of your down-the-list schools?

It is, after all, a scary thing. What will we be able to accomplish after high school? What do we want to be? What is our goal in life? To many of us, we are still asking ourselves that question. Do we want to be a lawyer? A businessman? A politician? If so, what education does that require? What GPA do I need to get into a good college for it? Deciding what you want to do in life when you’re eighteen is an incredibly hard decision.

This raises the question: If you’re one of the thousands of high-schoolers who doesn’t know what they want to do, then why do you care about your GPA?

We strive for motivation, something to push us over the edge and give us that little light at the end of the tunnel, but for many of us, we have no more motivation than the idea of getting good grades. The train of thought goes something like this. “I need to get good grades.” “Why?” “To get into a good college.” “Why?” “To get a good job.” “Like what?”

This is where a lot of us face an impasse; we don’t know. It sure is a hell of a lot of pressure asking a teenager what they want to do until they retire. A lack of an endgame is one of the most detrimental things that a human being can have burdening them.

We are creatures of achievement; we wish to achieve a goal and reach a concrete end. This has been understood throughout history. It has seen its way into determining the rise and fall of kingdoms, the elections of politicians, and even the outcomes of war. After all, it was British general Bernard Montgomery who once stated during WWII that “Every soldier must know, before he goes into battle, how the little battle he is to fight fits into the larger picture, and how the success of his fighting will influence the battle as a whole.”

This is as true on the battlefields of history as it is in the classroom. If we wish to do well in school, we must know what our goal is. We need to know what it is we want to achieve. Without it, we are left wandering through the halls, working for no known reason. Melancholy isn’t a great study tool, and until we can properly sort out what it is we want to do in life, we’re nothing more than dust in the wind.

Humans like a challenge to overcome, but when there isn’t one, we lose our fighting spirit. We lose our ability to function to our best capacity. Though we’re definitely nowhere close to the stress of a battlefield, we do still make decisions that will affect us and the people around us, and our GPA is that tiny fragment which affects the entire picture.

How will you get yourself motivated for the future, when it seems so far away? It’s hard, but the best way to compensate is to set small goals, take things step by step, and you’ll eventually find yourself where you want to be. The world is a cruel and unforgiving place, and the best way for us to prepare for it is to learn how to take it step by step. Don’t let up, and keep your eye on the prize.